Robot guide not quite up to the task at Tokyo science museum

July 5, 2013 at 3:59 PM
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TOKYO, July 5 (UPI) -- A robot built by Honda had problems with gesture recognition on its first day as a museum guide at a science museum in Tokyo, officials said.

The robot, dubbed Asimo, was unable to distinguish between people raising their hand to ask the robot a question from those just trying to get a picture with their smartphones, The Japan Daily Press reported Friday.

Asimo will be "working" as a tour guide at the Miraikan museum for the next four weeks as a trial.

Asimo cannot respond to voice commands or questions -- instead it is designed to answer any of 100 questions selected by visitors from a touchscreen after they've raised a hand.

During a demonstration when people pointed their cameras at Asimo, it froze and repeatedly asked: "Who wants to ask Asimo a question?"

Honda technology specialist Satoshi Shigemi acknowledged there is still a long way to go before Asimo becomes a truly interactive tour guide.

"Right now, it can recognize a child waving to it, but it's not able to comprehend the meaning of the waving," Shigemi said.

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